My first blog post in years and it’s about Trump! How sad.
In the FT, Mark Leonard recounts the view of Trump from China:
In Chinese eyes, Mr Trump’s response is a form of “creative destruction”. He is systematically destroying the existing institutions — from the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement to Nato and the Iran nuclear deal — as a first step towards renegotiating the world order on terms more favourable to Washington.
Lots to unpack here. The destruction element is clear but the construction is thus far an unknown. What will come after the attacks on existing institutions? Note that the existing institutions have enabled decades of prosperity for the United States and many others - allies and adversaries alike.
For the Chinese, even Mr Trump’s sycophantic press conference with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, in Helsinki had a strategic purpose. They see it as Henry Kissinger in reverse. In 1972, the US nudged China off the Soviet axis in order to put pressure on its real rival, the Soviet Union. Today Mr Trump is reaching out to Russia in order to isolate China.
Perhaps. Always keep in mind that Trump is a real estate developer. While there might not be a grand strategy, playing adversaries off each other is a standard tactic.